Daily Pack Log on the Blog: 7.13.14 – Selfishness and Greed

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There have been times in our nation’s history when there were mass outcries for justice, when mass numbers of Americans stood up as one and fought for something bigger than their individual selves.

While we still have individuals and groups who battle for something bigger, I fear we have too many in our society and worldwide who have become consumed by selfishness and greed. So the needs of others, from those oppressed or struggling – to the suffering of innocent people and animals, become nothing more than a news story to be watch, but ignored or avoided.

For too many, life has become nothing more than a route to getting what THEY and they alone want, too often at all costs. Selfishness and greed have become too accepted in our society.

And we need to admit that this basic mentality runs the gamut of the socioeconomic ladder. From gang members to some CEOs – from crack dealers to some stock leaders – from the husband who abuses his wife and kids to the scam artist who goes after the elderly to the thief who breaks into homes to the politicians who care more about their campaign donations than their constituents.

For corporations and businesses, sure, I get it that profits and their privately-held beliefs are part of it. But what happened to the ideal that caring about the needs and beliefs of others is important too.

If we loose compassion for others, we’ve lost our way.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Horrible, evil, sick people are killing elephants

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Among the planet’s most evil elements are those who are killing endangered elephants and rhinos for their horns and tusks. I will never understand what goes through the minds of people who can torture innocent people and animals – sometimes for nothing more than a motive for profit.

There most certainly is a special, incredibly hot corner of hell waiting these individuals.

The latest news is more than troubling, in that over 20,000 elephants were victims of poachers in 2013.

If the pace of killing continues, our kids could receive the news too soon that some evil humans have wiped two incredible species of animals off the face of the Earth.

The message splashed across the news headlines of late too often involves nasty levels of greed – be it from poaching to massive pay for CEOs, while hiring levels are not where they should be to more.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

More evidence that the Pope was right about greed

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When the Pope tweeted this week about the profit-at-all-costs mentality that is prevalent in the world today, he got a bit of push-back from one side and a good bit of support from those actually aware of what greed is doing to the US and beyond.

It just so happens there are facts to back up the Pope’s position. Take a look at the article posted Tuesday on Huffington Post, under the headline – “CEO-to-Worker Pay Ratio Ballooned 1,000 Percent Since 1950: Report.”

Bloomberg found Fortune 500 CEOs are raking in 204 times what the average employee earns in pay. The article notes the ratio was 120-to-1 in 2000, 42-to-1 in 1980 and 20-to-1 in 1950.

And this reflects only CEO pay. I wonder where the numbers are for others in the top one percent or so. I am in NO WAY suggesting everyone at the top of the scale in this country is greedy or that they all are bad people. I’m not saying that. But it is clear that we have a major problem. A greedy segment of society is sucking the life out of the economy. The pie is only so big and when a few take a massive bite out of the pie, it bites into what is left for the rest. This is clearly damaging to the economy.

When the middle class and lower-income families have less – basically the bulk of the country – then they buy less. With our consumer-based economy, this means a slower trend and less hiring. The economy falters or treads water. When the middle class and lower-income families have more jobs and/or better-paying jobs and buying power, sales rise, more hiring kicks in and all boats rise.

Consumers are THE job-creators. The Greedy are the job-eaters. The Pope got it right.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pope Francis Tweets against greed

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Pope Francis Tweeted a great Tweet on Thursday.

My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost.

—  @Pontifex

That “self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost” can relate to the unemployed and to those who exploit animals. But whatever the specific issue at hand, the message is one that focuses on greed.

But the response to the Tweet by European Central Bank president Mario Draghi  – as reported by NBC News – doubles down on the topic – from the greedy side. “We are…frustrated, yes certainly,” – Draghi said.

So the Pope rightfully points out that elements of the world’s economy operate on a profit-at-any-cost mentality, and this person is frustrated that someone pointed it out. Really?

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Pack of Putrid Punditry Award: Rep. Steve Stockman

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I haven’t handed out a Pack of Putrid Punditry Award in a long while. But this week, we have someone fully deserving of the (dis)honor. Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas Tweeted the following recently –

“The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out.”

For him, apparently it’s not good people or the beauty of nature of even that he believes God created the Earth. None of that is the best thing for him. Apparently, the best thing about the Earth for him is the fact that Big Oil can make massive profits off drilling into it. And he must think that this is the best thing, even if the process horribly pollutes the Earth.

And he must think this even in the wake of the huge pipeline oil spill in Arkansas or even the BP Oil Gusher in the Gulf.

It just doesn’t matter, as long as Big Oil and GREED win the day. This is Putrid Punditry on a whole new level. I think Mr. Potter from “It’s a Wonderful Life” would applaud Stockman with a big greedy smile on his face.

Yahoo News notes a lot of people are responding on Twitter.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Judge makes double-shocker decision on hydraulic fracking fluids

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The fracking industry won a big decision in Wyoming this past week, because a judge decided to be an industry puppet and decided to ignore protections for people and the environment. It was a shocking, double-whammy decision.

With this decision, the industry can continue to keep secret the chemicals it mixes into its friggin’ fracking concoction.

And why did this judge make this decision? My jaw dropped when I read the following paragraph from the AP article:

Natrona County District Judge Catherine Wilking has ruled that Wyoming’s state oil and gas supervisor was correct to withhold the ingredient lists as protected trade secrets.

So can any product manufacturer in the country now decide to stop posting ingredients on food labels? Can the tobacco industry now include more harmful ingredients in its products and strip the list off labels? If this Wyoming judge has his way, they can just all hide behind “trade secrets.”

If we see a wave of people getting sick after eating some product, the manufacturer can merely refuse to tell the public what the problem might be. It’s a trade secret.

But there was at least one piece of news in the article that was not shocking at all. Halliburton was involved in arguing against disclosing the ingredients in fracking fluids.

So once again, GREED wins and we loose. Once again, we see firm evidence of the power some corporations have over not only the federal and state governments, but also over the court system. Corporatism is taking a deeper and deeper hold over our country and this story offers another key piece of evidence.

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

“Battleground: Rhino Wars” premiers tonight on Animal Planet

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The three-part miniseries – “Battleground: Rhino Wars” premiers tonight (9 p.m. March 7) on the Animal Planet cable network.

Four courageous veterans of the U.S. Special Forces have joined the fight to save rhinos from the evil poachers who are killing them at an alarming rate for their horns. These great animals will soon be wiped off the face of the Earth if more is not done to help them, by shutting down the poachers.

At the other end of this horrible industry are the people who sell products derived from rhino horns and the people who buy these products. The buyers are people who live in the stone ages and believe these products have special powers – and believe it’s somehow justified to send a majestic species of animal into extinction to get their hands on these products.

Once again, the greedy and the uneducated are a blight on the Earth.

 

Property rights teaming with the right to a healthy environment – vs. the Keystone XL Pipeline

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In the vary state synonymous with oil, property owners are fighting back against TransCanada and its Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Associated Press is reporting nearly half of the steel used in the construction of the pipeline is not American-made, the company is not promising to hire local employees and there is no guarantee being offered that that oil being transported to the Gulf will stay in the US. And TransCanada has engaged in land-grabbing in Texas. John Wayne wouldn’t like this and most Texans won’t like this news and most Americans across the map shouldn’t like it.

And certainly everyone with at least an ounce of concern or more for wildlife and the environment don’t want to risk this sort of toxic oil flowing down the length of our country. Texas isn’t and shouldn’t be the only state where this concern is rising to the surface.

So why is it happening at all? – Because GREED is so often backed by some powerful folks. And the local landowners and concerned citizens – who care about the environment, wildlife and property rights – are supposed to shut up and stand aside and bow down to Big Oil.

Even a majority of the US Supreme Court is telling us that our voices – because we don’t hold the power – should carry less weight than the voice of Corporate America. If you’ve got the millions to flood national TV ad time, you can do that too? – Right? … Like the propaganda-filled advertizing we see every half-hour from the likes of BP and Exxon.

These companies certainly have the right to buy ad time. But they don’t have the right to have more power over the political process or over the governmental process than each one of us. In fact, people should have more power than corporations. But what we’re seeing with the Keystone Pipeline and what we saw in the days leading up to and following the BP Gulf Oil Gusher, is part of the process.

Certainly, there are many cases where our best interests take the same path of the best interests of corporations. But WE should come first, especially when corporations are stepping over the line to stomp on our rights to a clean environment and healthy wildlife populations.

We have this from the AP story – “” A 78-year-old great-grandmother, Eleanor Fairchild, whose late husband worked in the oil industry, spent a night in jail after trespassing – along with actress Daryl Hannah of “Splash” fame – on land condemned on her 425-acre farm. “” – So they stole her land and then charged her with trespassing? How can this be?

This should be an illegal warping of the process of eminent domain. But this is another case where members of the US Supreme court have burned a section of the US Constitution.

Sadly, the propaganda has too many people and putting blinders on. That constant parade of look-how-great-we-are oil company ads is giving too many viewers a warm-fuzzy for Big Oil. BP is the hero of the Gulf region and Exxon really, really cares. In the cases of people who fall for this propaganda, I hope no one shows up at their homes promising to resurface their driveways if they give them $10,000 in cash upfront.

The risk of spills from the tar sands oil is great. Ask the people who live around the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in 2010. The cleanup is still ongoing.

Greed is taking over

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The old saying – ‘Money is the root of all evil’ – has never been more factual than it is in 2012. As the issue relates to the typical subject matter of this blog, animals are too often the victims of greed. That is a given.

But the problem is also larger and covers territory across a wide spectrum. What is war typically about? One country or group wants what another country or group has. It might be land or it might be more. But it’s about taking something – physical or not – that belongs to someone else.

The unending desire for more and more and more wealth or just amassing stuff tends to act as a steamroller over the innocent people and animals who happen to find themselves in the way.

Companies send the manufacturing of their products to China or other cheap-labor nations because the labor is cheap – period. The lower the costs, the more salary goes to the CEO and to the corporate presidents and vice-presidents populating the upper levels of these companies.

I’ve long wanted to believe that in my lifetime I might see the trend reverse, to a point where compassion mattered more than profit, where at least people mattered more than gross sales. I’m beginning to wonder if we can ever get there.

Greed is seeping deeper and deeper into our society, like a horrible infection. Enough is never enough.

In one area of the mix, what I see are politicians calling for a roll-back of protections for the environment. If people get sick from the air they’re breathing or the water they’re drinking, that’s a small price to pay for better corporate profit margins. I see the factory farming industry trying to throw up an iron curtain around its facilities, after recent cases of abuse uncovered with undercover cameras.

The extremists who defend GREED as their religion slam anyone who might have the nerve to suggest the health of children should come first. They don’t want regulations that might protect the health and welfare of ordinary citizens. There is a cost to protecting the public health and it eats from the pigsty where CEO bonuses might come from. And to the corporatist, the animal-welfare advocates are the wackos? – Really?

If I’m labeled as a wacko for speaking up for animals and children, I’ll take that label and throw it back in their faces.

Greed and evil teaming up in attack on African elephants

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Reports indicate 22 elephants were found dead in the Garamba National Park in the Congo. Poachers took the tusks.

According to a New York Times article, it suspected the Ugandan military may be involved.

And there is this troubling paragraph from the article – “” Conservation groups say poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than at any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized. “”

And it seems China is largely to blame, with upwards of 70 percent of the ivory trade going to China. How can some people – soaked in greed – do this to the animals? How can they accept the total destruction of a majestic species, for the purchase of some oddly evil item for there home or other personal possessions.

It’s a sick mentality and an evil one. But once again, we find another example of blatant greed. GREED is a horrible blight on our planet and on humane society.